Strawberries, also known as the ‘queens of fruit’, are available every day of the year at BE Fresh. The origin can change per season. I interviewed a couple of enthusiastic and knowledgeable strawberry farmers, and I am really excited to bring you with me to the wonderful world of strawberries!
Offering strawberries year-round, how is that possible?
Be Fresh Produce is, among other things, a specialist in strawberries. During every week of the year, the best strawberries are available to our customers. But how does it actually work. And why Spanish and Dutch strawberries?
An interesting manufacturing process takes place before a strawberry can be sold. The process of the strawberry starts with the strawberry plant. In Huelva Spain this takes place around October and the plant continues to produce strawberries until the end of June.
Around the end of December the plant starts to give strawberries. In the first two months, production is steady due to the short winter days with little sunlight and relatively cold temperatures in the production tunnels. The peak of production is in March/April, during this period the plant is in full production and the plants must be checked daily before picking. In December this is only once every four days.
The cultivation of the strawberries in Spain starts at the end of December and lasts until May. Varying per variety and soil type, a strawberry plant produces between 600 and 900 grams of product during its lifespan, about 70% of which is first class, the rest is for the industry for production in Yoghurts and Jams. Our regular grower in southern Spain grows our strawberries 100% zero residue without chemical pesticides, so the strawberries can also be used in baby food. Pests are tackled with natural enemies instead of spraying it dead with chemistry.
Strawberries are usually picked with the stem. In this way there is the least contact with the hands during picking and pulling on the strawberry is avoided, which prevents pressure spots. Strawberries are already carefully placed in the relevant punnets in the country, in this way handling and contact in the warehouse is avoided. There it is only cooled, the trays are weighed, the lid with the desired etiquette is placed and packed in boxes according to the wishes of the end customer. Spanish premium strawberries can be recognized by the way they are packaged, they are not stacked but laid in 1 layer, which is better for the quality.
Dutch strawberries are harvested from the ground, but also year round in greenhouses. This means that the strawberries can be harvested throughout the whole year, however, this method of production is very expensive due to the need to heat up the greenhouses and lighting. The Dutch open ground strawberry season starts every year around mid-April and starts mid-May, although that is of course also due to Mother Nature. Picking is done with care, because just like with Spanish strawberries, there are otherwise bruised spots on the strawberry. In this way it is possible that Be Fresh Produce consumers can enjoy the delicious sweet summer kinks all year round!
Spanish and Dutch kinds of strawberries
- The Candela is one of the better kinds. This premium strawberry is a very high quality strawberry.
- Rociera is a Spanish strawberry and it has a lot of variety. This strawberry has a great quality and a good taste.
- The Fortuna is available earlier than most strawberries. This is why the Fortuna farmers get more money for their kilos. The Fortuna has a light bite.
These sweet and juicy strawberries are top quality berries:
- The Furore is a perennial breed with excellent characteristics. The Furore has a great taste and it is a bright and shiny fruit. The season starts in June and ends in September.
- The Elsanta is a tough breed with a great durability. This big fruit has a great taste and a strong strawberry aroma. The Elsanta’s season occurs two times: from April to June and from October to December.
- The Favori is a perennial breed with great characteristics, like the Furore. The fruit is long and cone-shaped. They have the same color as the Elsanta and it is a strong grower. The Favori season starts in June and ends in September.
- The Sonata has an excellent fruiting and thus, it provides beautiful and unified strawberries. The Sonata is easy to harvest and it requires little work when it comes to sorting. We are in the middle of the Sonata season right now!
- The Malling is available late in the season, from June to September. The quality of the strawberry is great and the fruit is big. This fruit is also very easy to harvest.
What is the difference between Dutch and Spanish strawberries?
The Spanish strawberry fills the holes of the Dutch strawberry. There are not a lot of Dutch strawberries on the market during the winter because of the small amount of sun hours in the Netherlands. The Spanish strawberries are sold during the winter which makes them relatively expensive, because these are the only strawberries available at that time. The Spanish strawberries are a good alternative to the Dutch ones, because the price is important to the customer.
Spain is catching up regarding to quality, but the Dutch are in a better position.
The benefits of the Spanish strawberries:
- No extra costs for gas, because the strawberries don’t have to be seeded and harvested in greenhouses.
- Strawberries can be seeded and harvested in the winter, because there are a lot of hours of sunshine in Spain during the winter time.
- Everything is being fought, for example; against aphid reupellis syrphid, against spiders phytoseilus persimillis and against thrips predator orius.
How healthy are they?
- Vitamin C, this is very important for the absorption of Iron from your food and it helps your immune system.
- Vitamin K, which is important for your blood clotting.
- Folic acid (B11), this vitamin helps producing white and red blood cells and it helps with your growth.
The future of strawberries
New variants of strawberries are expected to be seen in the future. New races are already in development. A good durability and taste are important factors. People want something new every know and then, so you could potentially customers for higher prices for your strawberries. Spain is catching up regarding to quality; they hope to find a way to make the bite of the strawberry softer, despite the 2 days of extra travel time.
“Hopefully people will start eating more fruit and less chocolate,
the main competitor of strawberries are Mars and Snickers.”
What can you do with starawberries?
Strawberries are very tasty in a lot of receipts, since they are easily combinable.
I have got you some tips:
- Dipping strawberries.
It is a new trend, dipping strawberries in chocolate.
- Strawberry cake.
It is very taste to add strawberries to your cake, like a cheesecake or a cream pie.
- Strawberry salad.
Adding strawberries to your salad can be very tasty.
- Strawberry smoothie.
Adding strawberries to your smoothie is also a great choice!
- There are a lot of ways in which you can combine strawberries with meals, or you eat them separately!
Would you like more information about this topic?